Michael Keaton Refused to Have ‘Too Much Technology’ on ‘Beetlejuice 2’ Set After ‘Years of Standing in Front of a Giant Screen’ on Sets

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Michael Keaton told People magazine in a recent interview that reuniting with Tim Burton and shooting the “Beetlejuice” sequel (officially titled “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice”) was “the most fun I’ve had on set in a long time.” The film is the follow-up to the duo’s 1988 comedy classic. Keaton stressed how refreshing it was to embrace practical filmmaking after “years” spent working with giant green screens. Prior to “Beetlejuice 2,” Keaton reprised his Batman role for the VFX-heavy comic book tentpole “The Flash.”

“On one hand, you’d go, ‘Well, of course it’s the most fun. It looks like fun.’ As you know, it doesn’t always work like that,” Keaton said. “The one thing that [Tim] and I decided on early, early, early on from the beginning, if we ever did it again, I was totally not interested in doing something where there was too much technology. It had to feel handmade. It’s the most exciting thing. When you get to do that again after years of standing in front of a giant screen, pretending somebody’s across the way from you, this is just enormous fun.”

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“What made it fun was watching somebody in the corner actually holding something up for you, to watch everybody in the shrunken head room and say, ‘Those are people under there, operating these things, trying to get it right,’” Keaton added.

“We thought, ‘You got to get this right. Otherwise, just don’t do it. Let’s just go on with our lives and do other things,’” he concluded. “So I was hesitant and cautious, and he was probably equally as hesitant and cautious over all these years. Once we got there, I said, ‘OK, let’s just go for it. Let’s just see if we can do it, if we can pull this off.’”

Keaton told Empire magazine last year that Burton was prioritizing practical effects on the “Beetlejuice 2” set.

“Beetlejuice is the most fuckin’ fun you can have working,” Keaton said at the time. “It’s so fun, it’s so great. And you know what it is? We’re doing it exactly like we did the first movie. There’s a woman in the great waiting room for the afterlife literally with a fishing line – I want people to know this because I love it – tugging on the tail of a cat to make it move.”

He continued, “It has to be done as close to the way we made it the first time. Making stuff up, making stuff happen, improvising and riffing, but literally handmade stuff like people creating things with their hands and building something. Fuckin’ great. It’s the most fun I’ve had working on a movie in, I can’t tell you how long.”

Burton directed “Beetlejuice 2” from a script by “Wednesday” creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar. Keaton is returning in the title role opposite returning cast members Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara. New faces to the franchise include “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega, Willem Dafoe, Monica Bellucci and Justin Theroux.

Warner Bros. is set to release “Beetlejuice 2” in theaters on Sept. 6.

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